The window beckoned my fist. Tightly clenching my hands I strangled a helpless moan. I backed away from the temptation and grabbed my iPhone schedule. I never know what day of the month it is but I always know what day of my cycle I am on. Mother moon is responsible for my transformation. I laugh at those who have never experienced PMS. PMS has NOTHING on PMDD. (Some sites say it is the same thing but any reliable site knows the difference.) How lucky are those who only suffer mild cramps and tiny bloating. I have to schedule in time to avoid people for a full week every month...just in case. I do not trust my responses to typical interactions five days prior to a bleed.
It was my first diagnosis years ago. I explained in a post before how most of my labels are like spaghetti...one begets the other and all are connected somehow and almost all are due to neurological differences. "While the cause of PMDD has not been definitively established, a leading theory suggests it is due to the lack of serotonin (a neurotransmitter) and mediated by the fluctuations of the levels of sex hormones (progesterone, estrogen, and testosterone) in the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle." (http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Premenstrual_dysphoric_disorder#section_2)
I am fine with various labels explaining me or giving other people more understanding. But I do not think the labels alone make up me. But PMDD is a whole other story. It's like having post partum depression once a month...yet sometimes I am lucky enough to escape the clutches of mother moon. The Diagnosing doctor told me that is more likely during PMDD that women take their own lives or others... and that it is a literal "get out of jail card" in some cases... With that information I was sent into a horrified stupor involving tears of helplessness and feelings of frustration. Doctors recommended birth control, but being an Aspie sensitive to meds I lasted three horrible months. Instead I had to face the unpredictable moments and trust that my mind would never be clouded with violent tendencies.
I am a passionate person by nature. Passion is different from violence. Passion is expression and glorious emotion. Violence often forms from malicious intent. Let me be clear that I am as safe as any person can be (all are capable of some form of danger) and I do not ever own malicious intent. It's not in my nature. I have a strong threshold of self control and keep things in check until I am alone or with trustworthy people. This is not a post showing how incapable or mean I can be. It is however a post giving a glimpse into something I rarely ever talk about.
Usually Wiki is not terribly reliable but I found that this explanation of PMDD was clear and covered most of the bases. It's a cyclic disorder occurring in a rare percentage of women from mid cycle, or generally the worst five days before menstruation. PMDD involves these symptoms taken from the WIKI article HERE:
"mood symptoms are dominant. Substantial disruption to personal relationships is typical for women with PMDD. Anxiety, anger, and depression may also occur. The main symptoms, which can be disabling, include
- feelings of deep sadness or despair, and suicide ideation
- feelings of intense tension or anxiety
- increased intense sensitivity to rejection or criticism
- panic attacks
- rapid and severe mood swings, bouts of uncontrollable crying
- lasting irritability or anger, increased interpersonal conflicts; typically sufferers are unaware of the impact they have on those close to them
- apathy or disinterest in daily activities and relationships
- difficulty concentrating
- chronic fatigue
- food cravings or binge eating
- insomnia or hypersomnia; sleeping more than usual, or (in a smaller group of sufferers) being unable to sleep
- feeling overwhelmed or feelings of being out of control
- increase or decrease in sex drive
- increased need for emotional closeness
Common physical symptoms include:
- breast tenderness or swelling, heart palpitations, headaches, joint or muscle pain, swollen face and nose
- an altered view of one's body - a sensation of 'bloating', feeling fat or actual weight gain."
I explained it to my best friend as Ware Wolf Syndrome (defined by Harry Potter movies of course.) The mythological creature transforms by the light of the full moon against it's will. A kind person can suddenly become a vicious creature. I dread my Mother Moon week. I gain ten pounds EVERY time. These pounds dissolve after the first few day's bleed...most of it is water weight. My face shape also changes slightly. It is the only time I ever have lower than low self esteem and see myself through distorted eyes. I point out women I look like only to have my husband look at me funny and exclaim, "They are at least a hundred pounds bigger than you."And I wonder what is wrong with his eyes.
My moods smash glass. One moment I can be laughing and cranking the music in our home but a few minutes later I can be staring vacantly into space or suddenly VERY upset at some event. (Obviously I shelter my children from any extreme effects. They just mention I am crankier and I explain the basics of PMS...yes my boys are included in this lesson...) Horrendous pictures of wrist slitting and car swerving come uninvited into my mind. I hide my knives not because I actually think I will follow through...I trust myself...but because they enhance the pictures in my mind and increase visions. I seclude myself from most events. Like the Ware Wolf who has to be given an elixir or chained up for it's own safety...I choose my own form of placating. I have limited choices. Seclusion combined with bursts of scheduled, timed moments of interaction make up my days.
The lucky (or unlucky) aspect of my self awareness is that I KNOW when I am "not myself." Sometimes it takes recounting the days to solidify it in my head that I may be overreacting. At times my husband has to point it out in some creative way. He learned NOT to say "What day of your cycle is it?" when I am upset. With intelligence, he often chooses calm moments to kindly ask, "Hey hon, just wondering what day we are at (I know immediately what he is speaking of) so I can be prepared to love you better." Wonderfully smart man that he is...While it is true that sometimes I am unaware of the effect I can have on people at this time during my "hormone fog," generally I have an idea. If I don't, the Divine gives me insight, or my husband or a friend...because I do feel that I am legitimate in my reactions and perspectives. My Pre Frontal cortex tells me I am.
Women are to be honoured for their cycle. "The RED TENT" changed my perspective on the sheer privilege it is to be a woman bound to the moon, ocean, earth and Spirit through a raw process of emptying, filling and life giving. But, during PMDD I feel that this aspect of being bound to my calendar is a tribal form of torture. I am a slave to the days of the moon. Any other day is just any other day, but days where the symptoms decide to show... can be binding. I do not like being moody. I would rather not be a less controlled version of self. Passionate is an attribute I am proud of (although I am aware of obvious downsides that we all possess with any good personality trait) but moodiness is a roller coaster ride. I detest rides.
When I don't trust myself, I don't speak. This week I decided instead to take another approach. Education. At least it is something.
These are dark days considering the fact that Mother Moon is overlooking the landscape. Binges are the only reprieve I get. Last night I downed several chocolate Fudgeeos and DRANK 100% cream. This at least stopped the torturous feelings for a moment...and no I don't care that I am stuffing my emotions with food. The emotions are too strong and if sweets can stop death thoughts than so be it. One tiny event can set me off. Normal sensory Overload that often will just frustrate me slightly becomes a trigger of rage. Blinding perceptions, my Hulk like anger bursts over me. I squeeze metal cans, I throw my sacred books, I stifle screams of agony, and I picture satisfying shards of smashed glass....because smashed means that I actually gave in to the confused mess of expression. Smashed means I was unaware and lost the last shred of knowing control. THAT would be more merciful than looking at the smooth glass in the mirror and seeing the distorted image taunt,"You are not yourself. You know you are not thinking clearly." Because knowing while one can not do much to change a situation makes the agony surface. Knowing others have it worse and I will be better in a few days time does NOTHING in the moment. I am still grateful, I am still hopeful, I still possess most of my intelligent capacity but mother moon defines my choices. The only choice I seem to have is whether or not I will smash glass. Thus far I have not.
Part TWO (TIPS TO HELP WITH PMDD) here: http://worldwecreate.blogspot.ca/2013/03/how-to-deal-with-pmdd-part-2.html
P.S. Speaking of safe ways to channel anger- Music is a great healing agent. Some people calm down with mellow tones...at this time of month I do best indulging in these songs...I feel so much better after an hour of angst:) Song Choices: Crazy Train- Ozzy Osbourne, Crazy that Way- Anjulie, Bohemian Rhapsody, most songs OF P!nk AND MOST OF Metallica (Misery, Until it Sleeps and The Unforgiven and Enter Sandman are my favourites.)
Crazy that Way- Anjulie, Bohemian Rhasposdy
Additional: Raise your Glass- Pink, Howl at the Moon- Hank Williams ( ha ha), The Long Day is Over- Norah Jones,